The New York State
Constitutional Convention Clearinghouse
Information Related to New York's Nov. 7, 2017 Constitutional Convention Referendum
A large fraction of the no campaign websites, perhaps most, have been coded so that they are not visible to search engines such as Google or Bing. If the past is a reliable guide, many of these websites will be deleted shortly after the referendum with no public trace remaining.
Please keep in mind the distinction between communications to members and the general public. The type of communication tends to be quite different in the two cases. In general, the no campaign has one classy coalition website that is promoted to the public. Meanwhile, its coalition member organizations have separate websites directed to their own members.
In contrast, the yes campaign has no well-organized coalition and accompanying website. Instead, organizations supporting a yes vote each tend to have their own website directed to the general public. The logic of such websites and related media is discussed in Snider, J.H., Why Foes of a State Constitutional Convention Have The Upper Hand, City & State, September 13, 2017.
- Former Principal: Dick Dadey, Executive Director of Citizens Union. Dadey is on leave as of September 2017.
- Website: Vote Yes For A New York State Constitutional Convention. Press release announcing the launch of this website sent on June 27, 2017.
- Facebook Group: Vote Yes to a New York Constitutional Convention.
- Facebook Page: Citizens Union
- Twitter: @CitizensUnionNY
- Press Release: As New Yorkers Demand Sweeping Change to State Government, Civic Groups Step Forward to Launch a Coordinated Statewide Campaign to Support a New York State Constitutional Convention, June 27, 2017.
- Videos: Citizen Union Videos
- Principal: Evan Davis. Bio: Senior Counsel Cleary Gottlieb, former Counsel to Governor Mario Cuomo, President of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and Vice Chair of Columbia University Board.
- Website: Committee for a Constitutional Convention
- Principal: Claire Chapman, President.
- Website: Forward March New York
- Principal: Ms. Dare Thompson, President.
- Website: League of Women Voters of New York State
- Principal: Anusha Venkataraman. New Kings Democrats is a progressive, grassroots political organization committed to bringing transparency, accountability, and inclusionary democracy to the Kings County Democratic Party.
- Website: New Kings Democrats
LegalWeed4NY. See also Cannabis4ny.org
- Principal: Jerome W. Dewald. Bio: Partner in the marketing research firm, Awesomepova Research, which studies marketing and social media in the cannabis space, and Executive Director of Tax and Regulate NY State 2019, which seeks to place a constitutional amendment legalizing adult-use cannabis before the New York voters through a state constitutional convention.
- Facebook page. Restrict & Regulate in NY State 2019
- Claimed endorsements
- Principal: Kevin Law, President.
- Website: Long Island Association
- Principal: Sharon Stern Gerstman, President.
- Website: New York State Bar Association
- Principal: John S. Kiernan, President.
- Website: New York City Bar Association
- Principal: Bill Samuels. Bio: Host of “Effective Radio with Bill Samuels”, which airs live for two hours every month. on AM970.
- Website: New York Says Yes
- Facebook Page: New York says YES
- Twitter: @NYSaysYes
- Radio Show: Effective Radio with Bill Samuels. See also EffectiveNY.
- Videos: NY Peoples Convention Videos
Restrict & Regulate in NY State 2019 (RRNY)
- Principal: Jerome W. Dewald, Executive Director
- Website: Restrict & Regulate in NY State 2019
New Yorkers Against Corruption (directed to the general public)
- Principal: Jordan Marks, Campaign Manager of New Yorkers Against Corruption.
- Website: New Yorkers Against Corruption
- Press Release: Broad coalition announces opposition to a constitutional convention, NYSUT, June 19, 2017.
- Facebook: New Yorkers Against Corruption
No New York Convention (directed to members of the anti-concon coalition)
- Website: No New York Convention. Note: Most of what this organization publishes is not available on this public website. Nevertheless, it is widely available among New Yorkers Against Corruption member organizations under No New York Convention branding.
Other Groups (mostly members of New Yorkers Against Corruption)
- Principal: Karen Scharf, Executive Director of Citizen Action of New York, Co-chair of the Working Families Party, and head of the Education Fund (the non-profit affiliate of Citizen Action). According to a 2015 Times Union article, the Education Fund received $210,000 from NYSUT. Note: Ms. Scharf majored in Social Studies at Harvard College when the editor of this clearinghouse, J.H. Snider, was majoring in the same department.
- Website: Citizen Action
Communications Workers of America–Local 1107
- Principal: Michael R. Long. Chair of the Conservative Party of New York State.
- Website; Conservative Party of New York State
*CSEA (Local 1000 AFSCME, AFL-CIO)
- Website: Constitutional Convention.
- Flyer: Vote No On A Constitutional Convention.
- Powerpoint Presentation: Together We Can Protect What We Have.
- Email: Get Out The Vote
- Your pension could vanish in a Constitutional Convention, CSEA Retiree News, Summer 2015.
- Gavin, Janice, Constitutional convention is not a solution, CSEA Workforce, September 30, 2017.
- CSEA leadership opposes state convention, Observer, August 14, 2017.
- Overmyer, Ove, Labor and Elected Officials Openly Share Opposition to Con-Con, CSEA Workforce, October 26, 2017.
- CSEA Workforce Magazine, November 2017 Issue. Cover and multiple articles devoted to arguing for a no vote.
- Sample activist no letter including the widely used $300 million cost social media print ad, CSEA Workforce, November 6, 2017.
- A collection of CSEA’s many other constitutional convention related articles can be found here.
Council of Administrators and Supervisors
- Principal: Skip Voorneveld, President
- Website: Council of Administrators and Supervisors
- Articles: Constitutional Convention: Vote No Tomorrow, November 7, 2017; Constitutional Convention: You did it!, November 8, 2017.
DC37-AFSCME–American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (“New York City’s Largest Public Union”).
- Website: DC37-AFSCME
- Heires, Gregory N., Union Organizes Against Constitutional Convention, Public Employee Press, October 2017. This was the magazine’s cover story.
- Alvarado, Alfredo, DC 37 Activists Help Re-elect de Blasio and Defeat the Constitutional Convention, Political Action, November 9, 2017.
- Principal: Michael Palladino, President, Detectives’ Endowment Association/New York City
- Website: New York State Constitutional Convention
- +Article: Palladino, Michael, Detectives Fight Plan to Cut Pensions,American Police Beat, September 21, 2017. Accompanying video
- *Thank you to members: Resounding Defeat for Constitutional Convention, Nov. 8, 2017.
- Principal: Patrick Dolan Jr., President.
- Website: Enterprise Association of Steamfitters Local 638.
Fiscal Policy Institute
- Principal: Ron Deutsch, Executive Director. (Note: FPI is one of the education arms of the union movement, with its board controlled by leading New York unions, including NYSUT, AFSCME, and DC37.)
- Website/Policy Brief: Deutsch, Ron, A Constitutional Convention – A Risk NOT Worth Taking, Fiscal Policy Institute, 2017.
Grand Island Central School District
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers–IAM 48
- Article: New York Machinists Set to Take on Constitutional Convention, IAM Blog, September 27, 2017.
- Machinists Lead Victory in New York, November 9, 2017.
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, IBEW 36
- Website: Vote NO on a Constitutional Convention
- Article: New York Working Families Say No to ‘Con-Con’, November 3, 2017.
- Principal: Mario Cilento, President
- Website: Vote NO on NYS Constitutional Convention
- Action Network: Discussion Board
- Article: Cilento, Mario, NYConCon has been defeated!, November 8, 2017.
- *Political Research Report: Our Core Message, New York State Constitutional Convention, Hart Research, March 2017.
- Three Flyers: 1) Albany insiders, 2) Prevailing wages at risk, and 3) Pensions at risk.
- Principal: Donna Lieberman, Executive Director.
- Website: New York State Constitutional Convention
- Lieberman, Donna, Happy Birthday to the New York Resistance, November 8, 2017.
- NYCLU STATEMENT ON FAILURE OF CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION PROPOSAL, NYCLU Press Office, November 8, 2017.
- An Overview of the New York State Constitutional Convention Process, September 13, 2017.
- Video: How New York’s Constitutional Convention Puts Your Rights At Risk.
New York Families
- Website: New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms
- Article: Albany Update: Proposed Constitutional Convention Is A Bad Idea, Blog, July 31, 2017. See also: McGuire, Jason J., The case against a constitutional convention for New York, Livingston County News, August 12, 2017.
New York State Alliance for Retired Americans
- Statement: NYSARA Efforts on the Constitutional Convention vote a success, New York State Alliance for Retired Americans Blog, November 13, 2017.
New York State Nurses Association
- Website: Nurses Say No To A Constitutional Convention; Furillo, Jill, No! On Con Con.
- Kristal, Gabe, NURSES SAY NO TO CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, Blog, August 24, 2017.
- Flyer: Vote No on a Constitutional Convention.
New York State PTA
- Website: NYS PTA Urges a NO Vote on the Constitutional Convention, October 25, 2017.
New York State Young Democrats
- Resolution: Resolution Opposing Proposition One
- Principal: Andrew Pallotta, President.
- Website: No Constitutional Convention!
- Retiree’s Page: Constitutional Convention Information
- Archived Website: Constitutional Convention Resources.
- Facebook Group: Vote No To Opening The NYS Constitution. (This was launched by NYSUT President Karen Elizabeth Magee.)
- Members Toolkit: Members Only
- Leaders Toolkit: Leaders Only
- Contribution Form: No NY Convention Fund
- Action Center: 2017 Order Form
- Recognition of Locals: Hall of Fame
- Sample Steering Committee Minutes: Election District 51, February 14, 2017.
- Articles in NYSUT United:
- TRS: Protect your pension! Vote NO on Prop 1, October 25, 2017
- Retirees in Action, October 25, 2017
- Vote NO on Prop 1, October 25, 2017. This article is the cover story in NYSUT United’s November/December 2017 and is accompanied with a large graphic: A Constitutional Convention? There is a better way!
- This is what organizing looks like!, August 30, 2017
- Broad coalition announces opposition to a constitutional convention, June 19, 2017
- We have a better, cheaper way to change state’s constitution, June 1, 2017
- You can help defeat ConCon, June 1, 2017
- ‘Con con’ would cost NYers a lot more than money, April 28, 2017
- New website offers tools to defeat ConCon referendum, March 28, 2017
- Taxpayers would foot whopping bill for political insiders’ party, March 1, 2017
- More state leaders are con the concon, citing costs and a potential attack on union rights, February 08, 2017
- Pensions pump $12 billion a year into the state’s economy, February 1, 2017
- A constitutional convention puts your right to bargain collectively at risk, December 19, 2016
- The CON in the constitutional convention, June 2, 2016
- Why we must say NO to a state constitutional convention, January 26, 2016
- Articles in The Retiree Organizer
- Pecorale, Paul, Opening Pandora’s Box?, April 2017.
- State constitutional convention referendum just three months away: Vote NO on Nov. 7, Mid-Summer 2017
- Long Island retirees make ‘No ConCon’ calls a weekly morning routine, and so can you, Mid-Summer 2017
- Other Articles
- Candidates backed by NYSUT locals sweep to victory in elections statewide, NYSUT Media Relations, November 8, 2017.
- Using hip hop to spread the word about voting ‘NO’ on the constitutional convention, WNY Labor Today, October 16, 2017
- Retirees mobilized to defeat the constitutional convention, NYSUT Communications, October 4, 2017
- Frenette, Liza, How NYSUT’s Health Care Professionals are speaking out, NYSUT Communications, September 29, 2017
- EDUCATION AUTUMN: Seasons change, leaves change, but the message remains the same, NYSUT Communications, September 25, 2017
- Pallotta: A Constitutional Convention poses a serious threat to public education, New York State Association of School Boards, September 20, 2017
- Constitutional convention poses unnecessary risks for seniors, NYSUT Communications, September 8, 2017
- Website: Police Benevolent Association, Nassau County (PBA)
- Bulletin Board: Thee RANT: New York City Cops speaking their minds.
- Video Message from Local President: Yonkers PBA President Keith Olson
PEF–New York State Public Employees Federation.
- Principal: Wayne Spence, President of the New York State Public Employees Federation.
- Website: PEF–New York State Public Employees Federation
- Articles: The Communicator: April 2017, page 7 and May 2017, page 6.
Planned Parenthood Empire State
- Website: Planned Parenthood Empire State (Note that despite being listed as a convention opponent and making at least statements to the press explaining its opposition in soundbite length quotes, it didn’t post anything about its opposition on its website.)
- Website: Professional Staff Congress (PSC)
- Principal, Deborah Bell, Executive Director of PSC.
- Article: Paul, Ari, Unions set to oppose a constitutional convention, Clarion, CUNY April 2017.
Retired Public Employees Association (RPEA)
- Principal: Edward Farrell, Executive Director.
- Website: Constitutional Convention- A Bad Idea
- Other: Constitutional Convention Timeline, Constitutional Convention Q&A, White Paper: Con-Con Ballot Question
- Principal: Kevin Casey, Executive Director.
- Website & Events: Constitutional Convention.
- Principal: Gregory Floyd, President, Teamsters Local 237 and Vice President-at-Large on the General Board of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
- Website: Teamsters Joint Council 16
- Facebook Group: New York City Dept Sanitation Retirees And Workers
- Floyd, Gregory, Vote ‘NO’ to the CON CON, con, June 8, 2107.
- Stryker, Patricia, New York State Constitutional Convention – Things You Need To Know, Action Alert
- Nespoli, Harry, What You Should Know: Why I am against a constitutional convention, Record, Local 831 I.B.T., Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association, May 7, 2017.
- Facebook Video: New York DOES NOT need a Constitutional Convention. This November, VOTE NO!, May 7, 2017. Group founder and Administrator: Karen Elizabeth Magee, President of NYSUT (2014-1017; replaced by Andew Pollotta on April 8, 2017). Magee published this Facebook group under the nom de guerre, Karen Elizabeth; see the associated Karen Elizabeth Facebook page, originally listed under Karen Baker. As of June 1, 2017, this was the leading union facebook group exclusively dedicated to opposing the upcoming referendum, with 18,221 members. Every one of the thousands of comments posted on this website opposed a yes vote.
- Website: State Constitutional Convention and Vote No on a Constitutional Convention
- Murphy, Michael, The dangers of a constitutional convention, New York Teacher, September 7, 2017.
- Write letters against constitutional convention, Retired Teachers Chapter News, July 6, 2017.
- Taking action to avert constitutional convention, News Stories, May 4, 2017.
- Why we must reject a constitutional convention, New York Teacher, March 2, 2017.
- A grave risk to our rights and benefits, President’s Perspective, January 5, 2017.
- ‘Convention’ a danger to pensions, Retired Teachers Chapter News, January 5, 2017.
- Why voters should reject a constitutional convention, Q & A On The Issues, January 5, 2017.
- Brochure: A message from your union.
- Flyer: Constitutional convention could harm our pensions
- Resolution: Resolution in opposition to a constitutional convention, December 14, 2016.
- Chapter Websites: Social Workers & Psychologists
United University Professions (an affiliate of NYSUT)
- Website: Constitutional Convention: VOTE NO!.
- Press Release: UUP joins with New Yorkers Against Corruption, July 24, 2017.
- Con Con Toolkit:
- Fillable order form
- Action Plan
- Roadmap to a Constitutional Convention
- Fact Sheet and Concerns
- NYS Constitution
- Sample Letter to the Editor*
- No New York Convention flier
- VOTE NO! poster
- It’s not a “People’s Convention” flier
- Vote No! buttons
- VOTE NO! decal
- Pledge Cards (must be collected and returned to UUP/attn. Con Con no later than Oct. 13)
- Flier: The environment
- Flier: Workers’ rights
- Flier: Public education
- Flier: What the NYS Constitution guarantees
- Flier: Retirement security
- Video: Vote NO!
- Brochure for leafleting: It’s not a People’s Convention
- Kowal debates strong case against con con, UUP Communications, Oct. 17, 2017.
- Mancuso, Ellen,Why You Should Vote NO on the New York State Constitutional Convention, Faculty Association Newsletter, October 18, 2017.
Women’s City Club of New York
- Website: Position Statement
Vote No Letter-To-Editor Template
Available at www.nysut.org/concon (requires login).
United University Professions
Source: Sample Letter to the Editor #2 (accessed August 1, 2017; #1 was not made publicly available), United University Professions.
To the Editor:
I am writing to encourage every New Yorker to vote “No” this November to stop New York state from wasting millions of tax dollars on a constitutional convention that would, at best, reaffirm the status quo and could, at worst, take away our rights and protections.
The state Constitution guarantees the right to a free public education, to join a union, to protect our health, to care for the needy, to safe jobs, and to protect state lands and forests. These rights—and many more—are at risk if a constitutional convention is convened.
Don’t trust everything you read. It is not going to be a “People’s Convention,” as some well-financed people would like you to believe. History has shown that the vast majority of delegates would come from the same political apparatus we deal with in Albany right now. Past constitutional conventions have been costly extensions of state legislative sessions—filled with political posturing—with the same politicians and special interest groups running the show. Of the 186 delegates to the 1967 convention, 154 held public office. That means lawmakers elected as delegates could double their salaries and significantly fatten their pensions. And the overall cost is absurd—estimates are that a convention could cost between $50 million and $100 million.
If we believe changes are necessary, there are less costly and more effective ways to accomplish them than a convention. Specifically, the New York State Constitution can be amended through the state Legislature—as it has been more than 200 times—most recently in 2015 to create an independent commission on redistricting, and to allow the Legislature to save money by going paperless for proposed bills.
With all of the issues we’re facing—the possible loss of health care coverage for millions of New Yorkers, and keeping public education accessible and affordable—there are better ways to spend our hard-earned tax dollars than on an unnecessary convention.
I urge you to Vote No on the Nov. 7 ballot referendum to hold a constitutional convention.
United Federation of Teachers
Guidelines for Submitting Letters to the Editor, UFT, Retired Teachers Chapter
Source: “Write letters against constitutional convention,” Retired Teachers Chapter News, July 6, 2017.
To the Editor;
There are almost never simple solutions to complex challenges and for this reason, a “no” vote on a constitutional convention is the only sensible choice for New Yorkers this November. We all want better government but creating an open-ended process controlled by professional politicians at a cost of potentially hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars isn’t the best way to achieve it.
Seniors especially should understand that the state constitution has important protections such as provisions against age discrimination, the right to an absentee ballot, assurance of access to nursing care and labor standards.
(Alternate paragraphs — choose one:)
- Seniors should understand that the state constitution provides protection against age discrimination. This is especially important on the job and in seeking employment as about one-third of 65- to 75-year-olds in New York still work and make up a significant portion of the workforce.
- Seniors should understand that the state constitution provides important labor protections, setting the standards for the minimum wage, workday hours and fairness in how overtime is paid.
- Seniors, who use the absentee ballot more than any other group, should understand that the state constitution provides important protections that ensure their voting rights.
- Retirees who depend on their pensions can lose them. This will result in a dramatic blow to the state’s economy as those pensions create 216,000 jobs, contribute $35 billion to the economy and result in $4.13 billion in New York State taxes.
There are already better ways to modify the constitution than by opening it up to wholesale changes that put rights and protections at risk.
Sample use of this letter, Say no to constitutional convention, published in the The Riverdale Press.